• Cody Teets and her husband and two children.

After rising through the ranks at the McDonald’s Corporation, Arvada local Cody Teets has taken on another leadership role — on Jan. 1, she assumed the role of interim president of Regis University.

She succeeds the Rev. John Fitzgibbons, who served as the university’s president since 2012. Teets will become the first female president and first lay leader of the 144-year-old Jesuit school.

The search for a permanent president will begin in 2022 and is expected to be completed by summer, according to a press release from the university.

Teets is known for her journey from being a cashier at an Arvada McDonald’s to eventually becoming a vice president at the corporation, which inspired her book, “Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald’s.” Her McDonald’s career began while she was a student at Pomona High School in Arvada.

She graduated from Regis with a Master of Business Administration in 1998 and became a trustee at the university in 2013 and an affiliate professor in Regis’ MBA program in 2018.

Teets said that she felt compelled to return to Regis after rising through the corporate ranks.

“I feel it’s important that when you get to a certain place in life, when you can give back, that you do give back, and so it enabled me to stay engaged in what was going on in the business world and enabled me to teach the next generation of leaders, while at the same time, I could tell you of how much I’ve learned from my adult students,” Teets said.

Bob Engel, chair of Regis’ Board of Trustees, said that Fitzgibbons had informed the board that he was intending to step down after a “taxing” couple of years.

Teets said that during her tenue, her priorities are to “develop diverse partnerships” and have a leadership presence on campus.

She added that while she appreciates the honor of being named Regis’ first female president, she feels that her service to the university exceeds that singular distinction.

“I’m honored, and I also believe that it comes with great responsibility and being a role model for the university, for women, for women in leadership. But I really see it as it’s not so much about being a female or male, it’s about having a diverse mindset, so that we can allow everyone to be their best selves,” Teets said.

Engel said that Teets’ appointment signals a shift in the culture he’s seen throughout his career, but added that she was chosen simply because she was the best candidate for the job.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. In my entire career, things like diversity and inclusion weren’t even talked about in those terms. I think she has as much to bring to the table as anyone who is male, number one, and number two, our campus is over 50% female. A female will understand the needs of those students better than I will,” said Engel.

“We didn’t go into it with that in mind… we just got the best candidate and it just so happens, and it’s fantastic, that she’s a female,” Engel continued.